After less than 10 minutes of deliberation, a jury found a Percy man not guilty of murder and involuntary manslaughter.
Prosecutors announced both charges against Beau Shawgo, 38, in October 2016 after a bar altercation at the Hideaway Tavern in Percy that left one man dead from his injuries.
C.J. Baricevic, Shawgo’s attorney, told the BND he was pretty happy with the result of the trial, which was April 18. The jury came to a decision quicker than Baricevic had ever seen, which he attributed to the validity of the defense.
“I think the jury did a great job, it was a relatively complicated case and they understood the elements fairly accurately,” Baricevic said. “They understood that Beau had a presumption of innocence and they held the state to the appropriate burden.”
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Shawgo initially pleaded not guilty to both charges. Randolph County Circuit Judge Richard Brown ordered a directed verdict for the murder charge, which Baricevic said he was right to do. A judge typically will order a directed verdict when he finds that no reasonable jury could reach a different decision.
During the trial, Baricevic said the defense wouldn’t argue the facts of the case, but believed that “one punch does not a murder make in the state of Illinois,” according to the Southern Illinoisan. He cited several Illinois Supreme Court cases that he said didn’t allow for one punch to count as intent to cause death or great bodily harm.
Brown ordered the direct verdict after he decided Shawgo’s punch wasn’t enough to prove intent to kill or cause bodily harm, the Southern Illinoisan reported. He declined to do the same for the manslaughter charge, however.
State attorney Jeremy Walker said he was surprised Shawgo wasn’t convicted on any charges. There was video of the bar altercation, Walker said, which he said showed that Shawgo’s response didn’t qualify as self defense.
“I thought the video (of the altercation) spoke for itself,” Walker said. “But the jury evidently disagreed, and I certainly respect their decision.”